Fit for the European market

Roman Stefirta comes from Moldova. The medical doctor gave up his profession in 2004 and entered the pharmaceutical industry, a booming market at the time and still today. Just two years later, he founded his own company. Flumed Farm Ltd. produces liquid medicines, primarily for treating colds, for the domestic market and for exporting to the post-Soviet region. Inexpensive nasal sprays are the top sellers.

When Roman Stefirta decided to participate in the MP in 2012, he had an annual turnover of one and a half million euros and 42 employees. Today his turnover is three and a half million euros, and he has not yet completed his journey. Stefirta says that he partly achieved this impressive growth rate with the aid of the MP, which he was able to complete in a country that belongs to the top five markets of the global pharmaceutical industry. In Germany, Stefirta wanted to establish contacts to large pharmaceutical companies to exchange ideas with them and to benefit from their know-how and their approach to tapping into markets. In addition, he wanted to offer his company’s services as an outsourcing company. He is currently planning to build two new production facilities, one of which is intended to serve the European market. The other facility is in Belarus and is a joint venture with a Belarusian partner. The new factory was financed entirely with internal funds. Stefirta is currently looking to find foreign investors interested in a participation. “Then I could start the production sooner and fully utilise the plant’s capacity”, he says.

But he is not interested in growth at any cost. It is the quality too that counts. “We want to produce not the cheapest, but the best products”, he explains. After the MP, he introduced a quality management system that complies with the standards of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) in order to ensure the quality of his products. “We have already had a department for quality assurance for some years. But it is only through GMP that it now also deserves its title”, the businessman says. For the exports to Europe, the GMP guidelines of the European Commission are observed in the plant in Moldova. The factory in Belarus, on the other hand, follows the guidelines of the Eurasian Economic Union or the regulations for the individual countries. The businessman explained that is the reason why two separate plants were planned.

Stefirta has in the meantime also modernised the online business. He had a new, user-friendly website created, on which potential customers can quickly inform themselves about his products. A professional agency was commissioned with the programming. This step was particularly important to him in view of the progressive internationalisation. Under well laid-out tabs, customers can find the products already certified for their country. But a certificate alone doesn’t mean access to a new market. “Registration is the first step; after that, you have to also sell your product in each country. Finding the first customer isn’t so easy. You have to open a new branch, find people and fill them with enthusiasm for your products. That takes time.” Thanks to the favourable price-performance ratio, Stefirta is optimistic that he will soon be able to fully utilise the capacity of his plants.